Sultry, Sassy, Sophisticated Women

Has Being Sophisticated Gone Out of Style?

Sophisticated Women. Grandma, mom and aunts. Brown Betties

My Grandma Gordon (Alice) used to tell me to always be a lady. A preacher’s wife, she was a religious woman, tall and stout. She would have this “thinking look”on her face, that I do today, that my BFF calls my scrunchy face. But, when she smiled at you, the scrunchy went away and she smiled at you with her heart. In the early ’80s she sent me a card with a photo. She lived in Indianapolis and had been hired as a Kroger Greeter. The photo showed her with her wire-rimmed grandma glasses, with hair neatly pressed and pin-rolled in her grandma 40s-style rolls and she was smiling. Her trench hung neatly over her shoulders, her hands clasped demurely at her waist and a very large, blue-ribbon pin was planted on her shirt announcing her coveted position. She was so proud. And I’m sure she was hired because she was a lady.

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Grandma (Alice) Gordon  with my brother, Shakir

My mother’s mother, Grammy, (Alberta) is a different kind of lady. She lives in Kansas, worked at KU, wore pencil skirts and heels and stylish wigs and would often have a Pal Mal cigarette dangling from her long, painted fingers. She has four daughters (pictured above) she tended to. She taught me how to make cheesecake and would give me bits and pieces of costume jewelry and talk about makeup, because that’s what she loves to do. Grammy is also the type of lady who, when angry, could smile quietly and perhaps ask if she could talk to you for a moment and quietly cuss you the f*ck out; but quietly, in your ear, for you to hear with impassioned heat and personalized emphasis.

Grandma Alberta White Brown Bettie

Grammy (Alberta White)

Both of these ladies are sophisticated and taught me how to be such. My Grandma Gordon passed on, so I can only call on memories of her talking to me while smiling at me from her Chambers stove where she fried the best bacon and made the best eggs while coffee percolated on the kitchen table. I can luckily still call my Grammy whenever I want (sort of; it has to be before 8am or so, on Grammy time), and she will tell me about her doctor’s visits and call the doctor “that little so-n-so” and then giggle this giggle that we both know is only to keep the rest of the words she wants to say (or has already said privately during her appointment) trapped in mouth.

I try to live my life honoring these women. I try to cross my legs when seated in a restaurant. I try to speak with kindness, while being direct and honest. I try to wear lipstick, I try to keep do my nails on Sundays. I try to keep my shoes looking nice by fixing my heels when they get eaten up by these Prague cobble-stoned streets. I try to walk with my head high, shoulders back and with a small switch in my hip to let ’em know where I come from. I try to read the Financial Times, The New York Times and BuzzFeed so that I know what’s going on and can have intelligent conversations at dinner parties. I try to do these things that allow me to be a smart woman. A sophisticated woman with some sense, some compassion and some gosh-darn couth. I’m not as bold as my Grammy nor as pious as my Grandma Gordon, but I take plenty of pencil skirts and pin-rolls from them to help me be who I am. To me, this is being a Bettie.

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I can spot another Bettie a mile away. Maybe she’s got some grandmas swirling around her; maybe she’s self taught. But I can assure you that I almost always see her before I hear her, because her presence is that strong…that sophisticated. The women I associate myself with are this.

Brown Betties How to Be Sophisticated

Think about what makes *you* sophisticated, and be that. Today and (almost) everyday. Because being sophisticated has not gone out of style. You’re keeping it alive. Just in case you need some help, here are three (fun) tips to help you be sophisticated.

3 Tips to Be Sophisticated

  1. Show don’t tell.
  2. Treat people with respect.
  3. Chew with your mouth closed.

Thank you for reading this and for being a Bettie.

 

#BeYourOwnBettie

 

Knowing Your NO

Knowing Your No – {Panel + Discussion}

You know when enough is enough.

But do you know how to use your voice to speak up?

The Story:

As the creator and founder of Brown Betties, I’ve had my experiences with sexual harassment. I learned from those experiences that while I knew I certainly didn’t feel good about what was happening in the moment, I couldn’t always find my voice to speak up and say, “No.” Or, when I did finally find my voice, it was too late.

I don’t want this to happen to anyone else.

The Course:

+Panel Discussion

+Breakout Sessions/Workshop

“Knowing Your NO” will be an event that includes a panel discussion with key note speakers who have experienced sexual harassment in the entertainment industry.  Additionally, professionals in law, human resources and mental health sciences will be in invited to speak and lead breakout sessions.Through sharing stories and advice, our goal will be to let women know they are not alone; to help them avoid situations that can be potentially harmful; and how to find and use their voice.

The Dates:

Coming Soon. Projected for March/April 2019

Please check back for more information. Interested? Please sign up now so that you are the first to hear when registration begins.

Knowing Your NO – {Panel + Discussion}

 

 

 

 

 

How Women Produce

How Women Produce – {Discussion}

Women have a way of getting things done.

But do we know how we do what we do?

The Story

Knowledge is power and I believe in sharing what I know. I’ve been producing projects both in the US and internationally for nearly twenty years; I’ve learned a lot and still have a lot to learn. I think this is valuable because from birthing children to birthing films, women get things done and sometimes the smallest bit of information shared is the one thing that saves another woman from spending time repeating avoidable mistakes. It is my goal to provide a forum of sharing; therefore we’ll dissect strategies, pitfalls and successes that help us produce…anything.

The Course

+Discussion

“How Women Produce” will take the form of coffee table, happy hour and online sharing sessions that will occur once a month, the last day of the month.

NOTE: If you are a Bettie professional with information to share and would like to be a guest speaker, please contact me here

The Dates

The launch will be February 28th. Please check back for more information.

 

Interested? Please sign up now so that you are the first to hear when registration begins.

How Women Produce – {Discussion}

 

 

 

 

 

Be Your Own Bettie

Be Your Own Bettie (BYOB) – {Workshop}

 Power comes from within.

But do you know how to turn on the light?

The Story

While studying acting in New York, my acting coach would tell me that I was hiding; that I wasn’t using all of the tools within that I possessed. She was talking about my sensuality. I am a borderline tomboy from Wisconsin. On top of that, as a budding teenager, I would become embarrassed by attention that was directed towards my looks, so I would hide. That hiding carried into adulthood and it took some time for me to realize that I was dimming a light; I was not operating at full power. After creating the Brown Betties, and women asking me, “How can I be a Bettie?”, I knew I wasn’t alone.

This sultry, sassy, sophisticated workshop began in 2009 and has been modified for baby showers, wedding showers and milestone birthdays. It has also traveled to Prague. Learn more about BYOB here.

The Course

+Workshop

BYOB is a unique experience that includes dance, writing exercises, sisterly bonding and empowerment exercises. This entertaining, sentimental and eye-opening experience unfolds in an intimate and safe environment that is unapologetically feminine while it satisfies your soul and soothes your senses.

The Date

Sunday, January 20
4:00 – 6:00 pm

Purchase your ticket now.

BYOB January 20 2019

BYOB is a fulfilling and life-changing experience that includes dance, writing exercises, sisterly bonding and empowerment exercises. This intimate, sentimental and eye-opening experience is two-hours of loveliness that satisfies your soul and soothes your senses. Sunday January 20 4:00 – 6:00 pm. ONLY 20 participants allowed. Includes champagne and light delights.

$65.00

 

Interested in future BYOB workshops? Please sign up now so that you are the first to hear when registration begins.

Be Your Own Bettie (BYOB) – {Workshop}

 

 

 

 

 

When Collaboration Is Your Little Black Dress

Photo by Kailey J Flynn - Brown Betties

When Collaboration Is Your Little Black Dress – {Panel + Networking Workshop}

Together we accomplish great things.

But do you know how to come together…right now?

The Story

In 2012, I realized that I was spending a lot of time reaching out to people to help me who weren’t really returning my calls. At this time, I also realized that I had done some pretty amazing work with the fabulous women who were standing right next to me, and not those who were an email or a phone call away. It was then that I began to honor the strength of my circle; I made it a point to support the women around me who needed help and I embraced the power of collaboration.

My collaborative tribe and I presented a panel at the Pan African Film Festival and it was a hit. I’m bringing this puppy back with even more value-added value.

The Course

+Panel

+Breakout Networking

+Accountability Activities

The Dates

Offered quarterly. First date is expected to be January 6th.

Please check back for more information. Interested? Please sign up now so that you are first to hear when registration begins.

When Collaboration Is Your Little Black Dress – {Panel + Networking Workshop}

 

 

Knowing What’s Right.

Do you spend a lot of time worrying about what’s right? Do you worry if you’re making the right decision? Wonder if you’re doing the right thing? Struggle with making the right choice…? So do I!

Being a perfectionist is partly to blame for this “Is it right?!” curse. I’m aware of that. Maybe you are, too. I’ve learned that one way to battle this insanity is through team work. You can’t do things alone. You’ll never be perfect. You can’t get every single thing right. And sometimes you need a good girlfriend to tell you that. And other times, you need a teammate to pick up and do where you can’t. The Brown Betties – both LA and Prague – are some of the most notorious girlfriend-teammates a girl could have.

In January, I was blessed with an opportunity to speak at the American School of the Hague in the Netherlands where I gave a speech to the high school and middle school students on “Being Great”. I was also truly gifted to teach some awesome workshops including one with the school’s dance team. Our session was run by the talented dance student, Noga Arad (who is very much on her way to being a fabulous choreographer. Watch for her!)  I taught the girls and guys in the class our Bettie signature dance, “Hey Joe”, which was a fabulous first for me in many ways. It was the first time teaching this choreography to a large group of students and the first time to young gentlemen! We had a great time modifying the choreography and as always, I implored them to find what in the dance works for them. While we  all learned from each other, I spoke to them about the trials and tribulations of being a creative, of being a business woman, of being someone with hopes and dreams and being someone who worries about getting it right.

Meanwhile, back at home in Prague, the Betties were booked on a great gig; a private event at the gorgeous Royal. I couldn’t be in two places at once, I couldn’t figure everything out and make it all work, so the girls stepped up to make the Betties work. As they always do. One took on managing rehearsals, another worked out our costume look and our newest Bettie (Yazz, pictured above) knew the venue and helped the girls navigate the venue the day of the event. They got it right.

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Bettie Ally

Brown Betties as a brand is all about vintage. For this event, the client wanted a 20s look. Bettie Amanda created a look for our Betties. With Bettie Marina modeling, here is Amanda’s tutorial on how to do a 20s vintage hairstyle that could be great for everyday or a special vintage wedding look. We love it!

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Bettie Nicole

By the way, “Fever” is playing at my café while I write this. I take that as a sign, because it is one of my favorite songs. Whenever I hear it, I know I’m in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing.

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Bettie Amanda

I wish you right-ousness today and always…and when you can’t achieve it alone, get thyself a team so that you can all rise to the occasion.

 

xo,

Peppur (aka ♥ Ms. Bettie ♥)

PEPPUR CHAMBERS IS THE CREATOR OF BROWN BETTIES PRAGUE & LA AND CONDUCTS BE YOUR OWN BETTIE (BYOB) EMPOWERMENT WORKSHOPS FOR WOMEN AS THE ENCHANTING “MS. BETTIE”. LEARN MORE ABOUT AND BOOK BROWN BETTIES HERE. SIGN UP FOR A BYOB WORKSHOP IN PRAGUE, HERE. #BEYOUROWNBETTIE

When Taking Time For Yourself Is a Stretch.

We’re only about ten days into the new year and already I’m not feelin’ so new! This isn’t a bad thing really.

I think what happened is that I didn’t take any real time for myself over the holidays. I was very consumed, as a lot of you lovely entrepreneurial types are, with getting prepared for the new year. I wanted to “feel” new and look new with new posts and updated social media sites and new gigs lined up and so on and so on. I feel like I accomplished a lot, but what I didn’t do was take time for myself. I didn’t take time to renew.

Release. Renew. Repeat.

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Bettie Ally. Taken from her Fashion/Travel blog, “ThatDoesntMatch.com“.

During Christmas dinner at my flat, while seated around a candle-lit table graced with other expat friends who couldn’t make it home, our conversation turned to travel. With a bit of wistful angst, Bettie Ally mentioned that she just wanted to hop on a bus and go somewhere. We encouraged her emphatically as this is something all six women in attendance wanted to do or had done recently. As we sipped Ally’s fresh basil and OJ holiday cocktail and munched on our potluck meal of fresh Italian Mozzarella from MozzarellArt, a baked chicken I was quite proud of, veggies and homemade Khachapuri from my Georgian friend, we threw out ideas to her: “What about Poland and seeing Auschwitz…” (a bit far for a day trip and incredibly intense); “Austria is close and pretty cool…” (she had already  been)…”How about Budapest?”

Budapest made her brown eyes light up. That was the place for our fashionista Bettie and her soul searching. Later, after all the dishes were done, guests had gone home and candles were blown out, I messaged her about her travel plans. She mentioned she had just booked her bus ticket and was leaving out the next day on the overnight bus.

I wanted to jump into her backpack and go with her. I wistfully read and re-read her message under the covers of my bed and thought, “I should just ask if her if I can go, too.” I didn’t ask her. As I rolled over to sleep, I promised  myself, “Next time.”

I’ve been in Prague for almost at year and a half now and I haven’t exactly made “next time” happen yet. On my birthday, I make myself go to some random city outside of Prague; and I’ve been to Croatia to see a dear friend and jaunted to Paris when my brother had a gig there. These trips count. But, there’s a stretch I know I’m not doing.  In some ways, I’m a little nervous to travel alone and in other ways I’m a little nervous to make plans and I’m more than a little nervous to take time for myself.  This little bit of allotta nervousness ain’t gonna get me anywhere. What it does get me is more working-working-working time at my laptop, where I’m comfortable, trying to be new.

If you’re like me, and in some ways I hope you are so I’m not alone in this, we need to stop this nervousness madness and take a risk and take real time for ourselves that will not only get us to Poland or Budapest or Chicago or New York or across town to that new restaurant we’ve been meaning to try. We need to renew our thinking, our habits, our dreams and desires. We need to stretch beyond our comfort zones so that we can be the well-rounded, fearless Betties we’re meant to be in 2017 and beyond. I wish you luck and please do the same for me!

xo,

Peppur (aka ♥ Ms. Bettie ♥)

Peppur Chambers is the creator of Brown Betties Prague & LA and conducts Be Your Own Bettie (BYOB) empowerment workshops for women as the enchanting “Ms. Bettie”. Learn more about Brown Betties here. Sign up for a BYOB workshop in Prague, here. #BeYourOwnBettie
Main photo above by Kailey J. Flynn Photography

 

Nino’s Georgian Khachapuri (Ruthy’s MozarellaArt in the background), Ally’s freshly-popped Basil, Prosecco & OJ cocktail..and some lovely flowers!

When Asking for Help Feels So Unsexy.

When I left LA, I never thought one of my concerns would be eyelashes. I had a large supply back home and didn’t think to bring any of them, because…why? Argh!

Finding sexy, affordable eyelashes can be a little tough in Prague; at least it has been for me. They just don’t seem to be readily available. And, the ones that you do find are plasticy or pricey. Nothing a Bettie wants.

I finally bit the bullet and bought a plasticy pair during an awesome shopping excursion to Sapa, which is a Dollar Store Mecca and LA’s Downtown Fashion district rolled into one wonderland. The lashes I chose were thick and fluffy, perfectly great for Bettie performances…and plastic.

These lovely lashes would normally look great at the beginning of the show,and sure-enough, during a costume change, one of the Betties would squint into my face and be like, “Uhh, Peppur, your eyelash is sticking up.” And sure enough, I would peer into a mirror and the offensive thing would be shooting into the air like a zapped tarantula. I kept blaming it on the plastic, but it turns out I shoulda been blaming myself because just last week, after these countless performances, I realized it was me! I’d been putting them on backwards. Meaning, left on the right and right on the left. I’d been dyslexic.

This brings me to a larger and more important topic, and this is one of knowing when to ask for help.

Asking for help is sexy.

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Bettie Amanda helps Bettie Nicole with her eyelashes using DUO glue (Amanda’s favorite!)

While getting ready for our Christmas performance for a private event,  Bettie Nicole was patiently getting her eyelashes affixed to her face by Bettie Amanda. Now, Amanda is a pro and literally does hair and make-up for a living, so it is completely natural that Nicole would ask for help from Amanda. I watched them and I asked Nic, “Don’t you know how to do that yourself?” Always the schedule watchdog, I was asking because time was quickly ticking before we were to go on and I was concerned Amanda wouldn’t have time to get into her own fishnets because she was helping Nicole. With a bit of a friendly side-eye, they both assured me all would be okay and to take a chillpill. I took their cue and went back to putting on my own spidery lashes.

Well, sure enough, in our green-room post-performance, amid giddy laughs from a job-well done and with heavy breaths from dancing, I was told, “Uhh, Peppur, your eyelash is sticking up.” Sigh.

And this isn’t the first time something like this has happened.

Why is asking for help so hard?

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Betties getting a #VictoryRoll tutorial at #HEAD Salon in Prague

Early this summer, I enlisted Amanda to have all the girls sashay to her salon, HEAD Salon, to get a tutorial from her on 40s-style hair-rolling. All the girls went; most of them learned successfully how to roll their hair. I, on the other hand, didn’t make the session.

During our November performance at the Bohemian Burlesque Festival created by Lucy Cihankova aka Anglecia G. L’Amour, I had a moment. I was feelin’ good and I took a risk…I was close to a gleaming black, baby grand piano and it was calling to me, so with chandeliers sparkling from above, I stepped from the stage and crawled up onto it. My fishnets slid so sultry-like as I slinked across it like a panther and then I was up on my knees and whipped my head around in ecstasy (ahhh!) and in the process I had a minor hair malfunction. The 40s Victory roll that I did not properly learn to do at Amanda’s nor asked for help with while we were getting dressed flew apart like a blown tire. Because I have natural hair, (this means my hair is not chemically straightened which makes it a bit more full and takes a little more work to get it to do stuff), the hair did not fall down nicely on my head and merely flop around once it blew out. Instead, it was sticking straight up in the air like Alfalfa. I know this because I saw my shadow on the wall in the glowing spotlight and was mortified. Therefore, the rest of our gorgeous “Hey Joe” dance was me sexily draping my arm over my head to nonchalantly hold down that unruly part of my hair.

These two lovely moments, along with others from my non-Bettie life, have reminded me that I must ask for help.  Sometimes we don’t ask for help because we’re embarrassed to do so, or too busy, or naturally want to figure it out ourselves. Sometimes we’re afraid the person we want to ask won’t come through for us and we’ll be let down. I’ve experienced all of these things, and you probably have, too. It is just super important that we get past these weirdo obstacles and save ourselves from disaster. Good luck this new year with asking, even better luck with being super sexy!

By the way, I asked Bettie Amanda to do a tutorial on eyelash application. Here it is. Help yourself!

xo,

Peppur (aka ♥ Ms. Bettie ♥)

Peppur Chambers is the creator of Brown Betties Prague & LA and conducts Be Your Own Bettie (BYOB) empowerment workshops for women as the enchanting “Ms. Bettie”. Learn more about Brown Betties here. Sign up for a BYOB workshop in Prague, here. #BeYourOwnBettie

 

Delightful and Delicous.

As I sit at my window, I’m warmed by the swaying to and fro of couples ballroom dancing in a great hall across the street. Through the dark of night, their silhouettes glow under yellow light as they dance behind Gothic windows draped in majestic curtains. Gentlemen in suits. Women in long, black dresses. Sophisticated. Romantic. Beautiful. Enticing. Provocative.

I hope that your visit to the world of Brown Betties® is equally delightful and delicious.

Enjoy.

 

Love Ain’t So Easy.

Some days I feel pretty normal. Other days, I feel like a freak.

Love shouldn’t be so elusive. Love should be something you can buy at Whole Foods or Ralph’s or the Dollar Store. You should be able to shop for it, spend what you want (or have) on it, take it home with you and freaking enjoy it.

Love shouldn’t be something you can’t buy at Nordstrom’s. Love shouldn’t be the mink coat in the window on the faceless mannequin; it shouldn’t be the etched crystal vase sparkling on a mantel behind security glass and love shouldn’t be the Tiffany infinity ring gleaming beneath a locked glass counter top.

But, sometimes it is.

Sometimes love is the thing that other people get to experience and enjoy. Sometimes you are the one standing in the rain or the sunshine looking in from the outside. Sometimes you gotta turn away from that window; let all that normal, yummy, sparkly, vibey, alluring beauty hang out behind that see-through barrier while you go on about your way dancing like a super freak.

 

 

#BeYourOwnBettie